Delight or Distraction

33038881_844971702380635_1723938488941805568_nHave you ever had a moment when God surprised you by answering a desire in your heart that was there a while? Usually, that’s the way desires work; they come, they linger, and sometimes many years pass before any action happens regarding them. Desires by their nature are things we often wait for.

Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

This verse seems trite because sometimes we believe we’ve delighted in the Lord a long time, and a desire is still unmet? Why is that? One thing I’ve come to understand is the delight part of Psalm 37:4 really is a command. That means in obedience, we choose to delight in Jesus whether we ever see the desire or not. The Lord knows His children, and He knows when we delight in Him, we don’t obsess on the desire.

If we only look for things that haven’t happened yet or something we don’t have yet, this becomes idolatry. The first commandment reminds us that God has nothing before Him. So, when we look to God and Him alone, somehow, He becomes our desire, and our desires become what He would desire for us.

We fall in love with Jesus.

We trust Him.

We trust His timing… instead of having a “what have you done for me lately” attitude.

The Bible says in 2 Chronicles 16:9 that God is looking to strengthen the hearts of those who are devoted to Him.

Amy Grant wrote a song, and the lyrics went like this:

The Lord has a will, and I have a need to follow that will, to humbly be still, to rest in it, nest in it, fully be blessed in it, following my Father’s will.

This delighting comes down to submission to His care, giving Him control in our lives, following His plan…learning to love the GIVER instead of the gifts.

Indeed, throughout our lives, God does answer many of our desires. He loves us, and giving is in His nature to do.

One fantastic thing I’ve seen God do in my life is answer desires I didn’t even know I had!

When this happens, it reminds me that my distractions don’t come close to what God really wants for me. My heart rejoices in this truth, and I’m reminded how good God is, how He really does hear His children; He really cares. Being a child of God through His Son, Jesus is truly delightful.

Sometimes, God will step in and give us aid from our distractions. Other times, He just can’t. Distractions cause us to miss the very thing God wants to provide us. Surely the Lord knows how we are made, and He protects us from ourselves many times. But I believe, His desire would be that we would look to Him for our desires, and in doing so, we remain in His protection. There are consequences to choosing to wander from His protection. God has given His children the plan. Like any child is expected to obey their parents, His children are required the same.

My own wandering requires me to refocus, do a soul check, and decide once again, God is my delight, and He is my heart’s desire. Spiritual tenacity is required. The enemy of our soul has his agenda. This quote from Amy Carmichael sums up his intent…

“Satan is so much more in earnest than we are–he buys up the opportunity while we are wondering how much it will cost.”

The enemy is laser-focused. He wants us distracted, humming along, thinking we are following Jesus. The reality often is, we have missed opportunities that had our desires in them. We want to run to lesser things. I’m thankful for the Holy Spirit, who makes me aware of the distractions. If I want all of Jesus I can have, I will have to delight in Him once again.

When are you going to get sick of your desires? When will you see all the distractions keeping you from God’s desires for you? The enemy is busy stealing, killing, and destroying. How much of your life have you let him steal already? When your plans become about God’s plans and desires, you live in His delight, and then you are living.

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The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? Jeremiah 17:9

June Jewels Bible Study

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June Jewels 2020

Do you need an uncomplicated Bible study to inspire you to serve others and learn to love yourself? This study is for you. I wrote it to find a way to bond two people who will serve the Lord in the same place every day. It was made clear to me that a simple but challenging Bible study would be the way to get them to meet together often in June. These two work at a place where I serve called Buried Treasures Home. June will be the month for them both to work this study together. Hopefully, one heart and one mind will be the result of finishing this study. The Lord informed me of the topics I needed to include. I made it interactive for them to execute together.

This study was made for one purpose only, these ladies, so I thought.

One evening, as I showed this finished work to my husband, he encouraged me to put it out on this blog to benefit others. To do this, I had to revisit the study and change some of the content. The activities on their version are specific to our setting. I prayed further and asked the Lord to help me make one for this blog.

You will notice in some of the instructions I specify how to do an activity individually or with another lady. But I believe it can also include a small group or Sunday School class. This season, when few churches are gathering, it would be an easy study to do with your Sunday School class over zoom. The study is not a daily study, but there’s enough work to spread throughout June.

Does this sound like something you could use? It’s easy to choose which way you want to do the study. You will be challenged but not overwhelmed. There will be things to ponder, but growth is sure to happen. Make copies. I use only black ink. Please note that   each lesson is just a 1/2 sheet, except one. Don’t miss a chance to do a short, concise, biblically driven study. It’s the only Bible study I’ve written, and I tried to make it easy, but with some depth. If you have questions, please ask. This was a surprise from God’s heart to mine. I pray this study brings Him much glory and some growth to you.

Let me know how you like it. Please share how you plan to use it.

Click here –  June Jewels 2020b643d909-06d5-44c9-95e7-01bc16b096d5

Click here for the studyJune Jewels 2020

3 Reasons For You to Love WMU

What is missions? Have you ever wondered this? The WMU(Woman’s Missionary Union)website proclaims, “For more than 125 years, WMU has devoted itself to making disciples of Jesus who live on mission. We are dedicated to working with churches and believers to accomplish the mission of God.” And I believe it! There is nothing on the planet like WMU. untitled design

That’s why in 2017, I decided Buried Treasures Home, where I and my husband serve, needed a WMU circle. Buried Treasures Home is a residential home for women that is focused on transition from prison and addiction; transformation of mind, body and spirit; and trusting God, self and others. Discipleship is the main tool for transformation and a WMU circle was needed to cultivate hearts for missions done in Jesus’ name. To expose the women to God’s heart for the world, for them to learn about people groups all over the world, and to give them opportunities to do mission projects in the world was my motivation. You see, selflessness is the cure for addiction. And missions is the method to the cure.

So why WMU?

  • It’s eternal – You can serve the world in the name of Jesus, and your work will have eternal impact and investment.
  • It’s easy – You can start your own circle or start WMU at your church. The national WMU website, http://wmu.com/ has all the information you need.
  • It’s effective – You can be involved in God’s mission for this earth and influence your community and world.

It’s been my joy since 2017 to introduce each lady to Gospel minded women of the past and women of the present who passionately carry the Gospel. They may carry it to their local hospital or police station or to foreign lands. And how they choose to take it can be as creative as the color wheel and as vivid as the smell of a gardenia. These women are leaving the fragrance of Christ everywhere. The local news doesn’t necessarily cover their work, but thank God for Mission Mosaic magazine, which does.

When the Buried Treasures Home circle meets each month, the ladies read their written reports of favorite stories from the magazine. Then we pray for the missionaries and sometimes send cards to them. We have a map we roll out in hopes of finding the corner of the world where some are serving in the name of Jesus. There is no other motivation for a missionary to leave everything they know to go to a foreign land except their love for Jesus and for the sake of the Gospel.

It was thrilling this year when a lady turned in her usual discipleship work, but this time, she opened the binder as she handed it to me, and pointed at the pocket to an extra paper for me to read. Back in my office, before checking her discipleship, my curiosity led me to pull the other writing from the pocket. The content of this letter is precious, but the heart of the message is priceless. Her words explained why I started the WMU circle at Buried Treasures Home. My heart is grateful for this lady who got it. I believe others have also, this one just wrote about it. Do you have a heart for missions? Start your own circle and take others on your mission journey every month. Do you have a WMU at your church, or are you in a WMU circle? How does missions impact your life? Leave a comment below or on Facebook and enjoy reading this essay from a Buried Treasures Home heart stirred for missions. Her words are here. Heart for Missions

 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. Matthew 24:14

A Memory on Memorial Day

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My dad. Mild mannered, unassuming, a cheerful soul, burdened at times by things he couldn’t control, although with faults, a loving father. This is not a Father’s Day tribute, but a tribute of a significant event in his life.

The above picture was taken on May 26, 2014. That pole provided a brief rest holding my daddy who could barely walk by this time. Intense pain coursed through his feet and a shuffle had become his normal pace; labored breathing his daily struggle. His spirit so gentle and his smile precious, he wanted to be all he could be for my mother and his daughters. Less than 6 months from this picture this is what the obituary stated…

Floyd Wise, 83, went to his new home with the Lord on December 24, 2014.

Floyd was born on May 21, 1931 in Atlanta, GA, the third of eight children. He graduated high school in 1950 and served as an Army supply clerk in the 595th Engineering Company, stationed in Okinawa during the Korean War.

It was later in life that I learned this story…
His unit was on the ship and was called off the ship. Everyone, except dad. Those men were sent to Korea. Dad went on to Okinawa. Dad later learned all the men sent to Korea were killed in Korea.img_9852

My dad, the only one kept on the ship. At this point in his life, dad did not have a personal relationship with Jesus.

Returning to Atlanta after his discharge, dad worked for the Southern Freight Association where he met my mother, Audrey. He began attending Youth for Christ revival meetings with her. It was at a church revival meeting that dad waited until everyone left the church and went to talk to the pastor and accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.

I believe God saved my dad from physically being killed on that fateful day. HE saved him so he could be saved.

This weekend on Facebook memories the picture came up of my dad. This was the caption:May 26,2014 – My sweet dad went to the VA hospital last week for a yearly checkup. For his Cognitive test, he was asked to write a sentence. My sister said he had to think a minute, but then wrote, “Everybody needs Jesus.” Even though dementia is trying to steal, I am so happy my dad’s faithfulness to the LORD shines bright.

This Memorial Day, I’m thankful for a God who sees every soldier. I’m thankful for the Freedom of Religion we have in this country. I’m thankful my dad chose to serve His country and later chose to serve the Lord. I’m thankful the Lord preserved my dad until he came to faith in Christ Jesus. My dad was faithful to the Lord all his life. This is  worthy of remembrance on Memorial Day.
Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments. Deuteronomy 7:9

Worry Worksheet

Has worry ever grabbed you and suddenly you feel suffocated by a situation beyond your control? Worry is a condition many live in regularly. We all know there are some rather large situations in life that can escalate our concern to worry.

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If you are a believer in Christ Jesus, I can tell you Jesus doesn’t want His children to make a practice of worrying. All through His Word, He gives solutions to help us give our worry to Him, to turn our worries into prayers. Maybe this is where you find yourself now. Could you use a simple worksheet to help you focus a few minutes on His promises and find remedies for worry? I’ve made one for you. It’s a free printable here:

worry worksheet

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Worry is a waste of time. We all succumb to it occasionally, but our Lord knows it defeats us if we allow it to consume us. So if you need a break, take some time to work this simple exercise. You will feel the peace of God, and your perspective will change. Take some time, cozy up in the Word, alone with God, and get the peace you need for the situation you are in now. Please share it with others and let me know if you were blessed by the worksheet. worry worksheet

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You can’t simultaneously worry and worship God. Every time you worry, you’ve forgotten how much God loves you. Worry is really acting like an atheist. It’s pretending you’re an orphan rather than a child of God. Rick Warren

 

10 Quotes for this Covid19 Season

westerly 469We all love a pithy quote. Quotes help us relate to a variety of subjects. Quotes are original so they carry a genuine effect with them. Quotes put things in perspective in a unique way. In this post, I will add my thoughts after each quote. Covid19 may have given you some contemplative time and most of these can be useful right now.  Let me know what you think about these. 

Though a home is but a nest of inanimate objects, if lovingly chosen, they can love you back. Jan Karon

The meaning here is not of being a packrat, but appreciating simple things that have aesthetic beauty for you. Jan Karon’s readers know the detail she scribbles about meaningful things with intrinsic value. 

You can’t go with God and stay where you are. Henry Blackaby

This is one of mine and my husband’s go-to quotes. It challenges the comfortable cozy we all cling to and highlights our desire to cling to it rather than run to the challenge God presents to join Him. The Covid19 quarantine may have you wondering if God is calling you beyond yourself for His kingdom. Listen and then obey.

Do the next thing. Elisabeth Elliot

These four words are packed with wisdom. I’m rarely bored, and usually, embrace it if I am. If we squander time, we will not be productive. God does have our good works ready for us each day, even if it is just household tasks. Doing the next thing keeps you sane, puts you on the front lines of serving your family, or just sitting alone with God. It’s just the next thing. Obedience in the daily.rocky shore

God can’t give us peace and happiness apart from Himself because there is no such thing. C.S. Lewis

When Christians understand this, they appreciate the daily life of being a Christian. Talking to Jesus is second nature, listening for Him as we wait gives us opportunity to learn more of who He is. 

Disappointment has been referred to as the gap between expectation and reality. Lysa Teurkurst

There’s nothing like a reality check. Mercy, we can live in denial for only so long. Our expectations can be so high that disappointment is the inevitable result. I don’t know about you all, but I hate to be disappointed. Let’s put our hope in God. He never fails.

Filter some of the values in those Hallmark movies, but enjoy the fact they are mostly decent. Janet Denison

Perhaps Hallmark was a favorite channel of yours before this quarantine. If it wasn’t, it may be now. And yes, they aren’t the deepest content, but for the most part, they pass the watch test of a scrupulous viewer seeking clean entertainment. If you discover otherwise, by all means, quit watching.

If you attract someone with your body you’re going to have to keep them with your body. Kandy

This is bondage. God has big plans and they have nothing to do with exploitation of our bodies or violating His word on how to stay free. Our bodies are meant to bring Him glory. 

We are made for the valley and the ordinary things of life, and that is where we have to prove our stamina and strength. Oswald Chambers

Daily life. Oh so ordinary and yet how powerful a witness it is to those who watch. We must love the Lord daily no matter how mundane it seems to us. We are given stamina and strength from the Lord. A consistent, faithful life lived to please Him is far from mundane.

I’ll ponder it. valerie

This works when you are asked a question, but you can tell it doesn’t need an immediate answer. Either because you don’t have one, or they don’t need one. It gives the ask-er a sense that you will consider the request and get back to them. But it also gives the ask-er time to forget about it. Sometimes all people need is to ask. 

It’s yes to God. Now, what’s the question? Vance Havner

This is profound on so many levels. How long do we hold our agenda before God asking Him to meet our demands, even telling Him how good our plan is? This requires no faith. Saying yes to God first, now that’s faith.

If you want more quotes, last year I did a quote blog here .

 

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The Wave is Back

Southerners know all about waving. We’ve been doing it since babes in strollers. A long-held, winsome and pleasant greeting, but one I find waning. My husband and I went off to Canada and Rhode Island, a 12-year absence. My entry back to southern life gave me fresh eyes to notice the waves were not so frequent when we returned.

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I wasn’t sure what to think. It made me wonder if people were less friendly now. Was the darkness we dealt with almost daily in other places seeping into our quaint state, quieting this joyful greeting? Maybe people were just tired and scenical. We’re we becoming divided as the media seems intent on telling us? Whatever the reason, the wave seemed just about gone!

This week, I’m happy to report, the wave is back. Because of our Covid-19 isolation, the Body of Christ gathered in clusters all over the world to talk to one another through the use of Zoom and likely some other apps. Joy and anticipation were palpable as our Hope Sunday School class met at 5 p.m. on Sunday. You better believe we all were waving to one another. It was so sweet and the meeting was one we are still pondering.

But this is not the only place people are waving:

I saw a video of teachers in their vehicles, parading through neighborhood streets waving to their students who were waiting for them to come by. Talk about sweet!

The IMB(International Mission Board) reported small groups waving to one another through screens as they met together through the magic of technology. They spoke of how each felt like family and this helped them overcome the negatives of quarantine.

2 teachers in Texas called the parents of their students ahead of time. They made a poster that said, “Hi!! I miss you so so much! Can’t wait to see you! (online),” The parents made sure their children were in the yard when the teachers drove by waving with the poster displayed.

On a newscast, I saw a sign that said, “Wave. Don’t Shake.”

Many family members can’t visit their loved ones in long term care facilities right now. Ever determined, some station themselves outside and talk to their loved one on phones through the window, waving to one another.

There’s something about waving that sends a friendly and hopeful message. It’s a child-like and disarming form of communication. My hope is the wave resurgence is part of our new normal.

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Until then, remain in isolation. If you’re a believer in Christ Jesus, isolate joyfully. Love the ones you’re with. And let God’s Word come alive in your life. Remember those simple commands scattered in the New Testament? They offer practical help every day, but certainly are useful now. Here’s just a few:

Do everything without grumbling or complaining.

Put one another before yourself.

Get rid of malice and filthy language on your lips.

Be quick to listen and slow to speak.

Keep your eyes from seeing anything worthless.

The Fruit of the Spirit

In addition, do simple tasks:

Write scripture

Exercise

Cook a healthy recipe or make a healthy snack

Write a letter

Send a card

Deep clean

Throw away things

There’s so much to do. As my husband says often during this time, “Embrace the peace.”

Until life gets back to the workday schedule again, and as we adjust to a new normal, I say, “Embrace the wave.”

Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Romans 12:10

Free Prayer Guide

photo-1545314329-10ce691845baThese are interesting days. God certainly has all our attention. Let’s not waste this unique season in our country worrying. God is calling on the CHURCH to pray and minister in His Name.

This morning all of us at Buried Treasures Home will watch our pastor livestream as will many of you. We plan to gather and sing before the we tune in to the message. Last night, I tapped out this prayer guide which we will use to pray for this season in our country.March 152020 Ntl Day of Prayer – Corona Virus

It may not include everything, but the Spirit will inform you as you pray to the Father about these matters. I wish I could have included scriptures, but this is just a guide. If you can use it then God will get the glory.

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:26-27

 

March 152020 Ntl Day of Prayer – Corona Virus

Annie Armstrong – Relevant Role Model

Who is Annie Armstrong?Yesterday was International Women’s Day. I don’t know what that meant in this world. What I do know is this. Jesus loved women. All through the Bible text are examples of Him trusting them, using them, and not making a big deal about it. Jesus didn’t need a memo that women were unique and useful. He created them and gave them intrinsic value just like every other human. Equality was never an issue with Jesus. All humans are valuable and worthy at the moment of conception. This fact should be self-evident since every person is created by God!

There once was a woman named Annie Walker Armstrong. This woman loved the Lord, loved serving the Lord and gave every breath she had in faithful service to the Lord. Right now, Southern Baptists are collecting money for the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering. 100% of these funds go toward spreading the Gospel throughout North America. Let’s hear about the woman this offering was named after so many years ago.

Born in Maryland in 1850, God saw Annie and picked her out for a particular assignment! Annie’s father died soon after her birth, but thankfully, her mother was a devoted Christian. She encouraged her five children to see the needs around them and to act.

Annie became a Christian at the age of 20 and this began her many mission endeavors. Within a decade she was serving as President of the Woman’s Home Mission Society of Maryland. Right after that, she helped plant the Eutaw Place Baptist Church in Baltimore, Maryland where she taught infant Sunday School for over 3 decades.

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She helped start the national WMU (Women’s Missionary Union) in 1888 and was its first Executive Leader.

You may have heard about Lottie Moon being a letter writer, but Annie was also a letter writer. Her letters brought constant attention to the development of WMU programs and  missions. She once wrote 18,000 letters in one year.

She assisted Lottie Moon with her mission work in China by raising money for foreign missions. Annie also championed home missions and advocated for a Southern Baptist Sunday School ministry. She was a determined denomination builder.

At one point, she founded the Maryland Baptist Mission Room. A room stocked with prayer cards and missionary leaflets at first later expanded to become a publisher and distributor of mission literature.

Immigrants and Native Americans had a friend in Annie as she advocated for them. She was instrumental in the appointment of the first black, female missionaries. This was realized when she was the speaker at the national meeting of the Women’s Auxilary of the National Black Baptist Convention. She went on to teach Bible classes, held mother’s meetings, and prayed with this group.

Nannie Burroughs was Corresponding Secretary of this National Black Baptist Convention and this is what she said of Annie Armstrong,

“To me, Miss Armstrong was a symbol – a marvel at what a woman could do. She fired my soul.”

Annie encouraged other women’s groups to interact as she did with black people in their respective communities.

According to Baptist Press, she started the Ladies’ Bay View Mission for the poor and addicted at the site of today’s Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore Maryland. Her legacy lived on in Maryland and we see this fact when The Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame recognized her in 1992. This is what they said about Annie…

“She emerged as a powerful leader when she turned her energies to unite women to the cause of Christian missions – to share Jesus Christ with those who did not know Him and to provide humanitarian services to those in need.”

Tom Nettles, professor of historical theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville called Annie,

“a person who looked at her gifts and her opportunities and pushed through any personal inhibitions and contextual prejudices to do what she believed God wanted her to do for His glory and the extension of the Kingdom.”

A few years before her death, WMU recognized her lifetime of work by naming the annual Easter offering for home missions in her honor. Annie Armstrong died on December 20, 1938.

To say God used Annie Armstrong in several impactful roles in life would be an understatement. Let’s reflect on a few of them.

  • PRAY-ER – Annie was known for her prayer life. Observers said she had a really intense prayer life that gave her real spiritual energy.
  • CHURCH PLANTER–  She helped start the Eutaw Place Baptist Church in Baltimore, Maryland which was her local church all her life.
  • NURSERY WORKER- To every anonymous, tired, but faithful preschool church worker/teacher, know Annie walked in your shoes.
  • ADVOCATE– It’s recorded not only did she advance the cause of African-American women, but worked with Native Americans and other people groups, as well.
  • WRITER– Annie  used her handwritten letters to gain support for Southern Baptist missions all over the world. She authored a book entitled, Rescue the Perishing: Selected Correspondence of Annie Armstrong.
  • SPEAKERThat talk at The National Black Baptist Convention brought important change.
  • LEADER – She led the way for missions and denominational work.
  • DREAMERWhen she saw a need, she dreamed about how to meet that need and was gifted in involving others to carry out that dream. This made her a good…
  • DELEGATOR –  She needed people and appreciated others.

Annie Armstrong is an inspiring role model for females. Her convictions led her to act with courage when it wasn’t popular. She loved the Lord and tenaciously went about doing His work from an early age until her death.
Never marrying, she served the Lord with gladness, stayed in one location most of her life, blooming where God planted her. Southern Baptist missions today can be directly attributed to her spiritual tenacity and faithfulness to God’s call on her life.
Annie Armstrong inspires women of every generation to use all of their gifts to advance the Kingdom and to stay faithful to God’s call.
Surely He was pleased and agreed with her grave marker which read, “She hath done what she could. The Lord knoweth them that are His.”

“Would that we could realize that the success of missions and our prayers are linked together.”  Annie Armstong

 


This site has a video about Annie’s life.

more information here

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Scripture Writing Follow Up

downloadSome of you may be following the Scripture Writing from The Planning Women as we do here at Buried Treasures Home. Sometimes, while I’m doing the scripture writing, the Spirit fills my mind with questions about the passage. After I understand the answers, I then have another discipleship tool to pass on to the ladies. This week was one of those times, and I was able to get it typed up and passed on to them. Even if you don’t do this particular scripture writing or scripture writing at all, you can still print off this printable to use for some extra Bible study time. Enjoy. Scripture Writing follow up for March 3

Also, I just published a page on the blog for Free Printables. I hope to add to this as time allows, but the ones I’ve offered, including this one, are on the page.

 

God’s Secret Agents

Years ago, I was exposed to prayer walking in a foreign country. Until then, I’d never heard of prayer walking. Certainly mobilizing to go half way around the world to do it didn’t match my idea of a hands on mission task. The team leader assigned a book (Prayer Walking by Stephen Hawthorne and Graham Kendrick), and the team practiced in his neighborhood prior to the trip. The main theme of this book was praying on-site with insight.

We learned to notice wheelchair ramps, children’s toys in yards, multiple cars in driveways, someone on their porch or in their yard, a political sign, a well-manicured yard. These and other things were clues for how to pray on-site with insight.

So, what does one pray when prompted seeing a well-manicured yard? You can thank God they care for their property and ask God to help them to understand there is a Creator. Ask the Father to convict them and to desire His beauty in their soul.

Sometimes walking isn’t possible. Prayer riding is just as effective. The speed of the road doesn’t hinder the ability to see clues around you…the speeding motorcycle, people on the side of the road, the elderly driver, the one texting, police driving by… As you begin to make it a practice, you’ll find there is no end to what the Spirit will let your eyes see, notice, and discern. For example, you may pass a crash. Ask God to bring peace to the situation and to give all involved wisdom. Pray for anyone who doesn’t know the Lord to cry out to Him to be saved.

A few times a year, I try to take the ladies of Buried Treasures Home on a Prayer Ride. Our time is more structured because I’m trying to bring awareness to them of how they can pray for their community in the future. This structure is useful if you’re trying to teach children or adults the importance and give the awareness of praying for their city.

This is what I do for a scheduled prayer ride:

  • I google how to pray for local churches, government offices, police and fire stations, your local shopping center, nursing homes, etc.
  • I make copies of these ideas and pass them out in the van before we leave.
  • We pray before we leave the property for God to help us see with spiritual eyes and to teach us what to pray.
  • I drive to the first destination, park in a place out of the way, but where we can still see it. Different ones individually pray out loud and when we’re finished we drive away to the next destination.

5 reasons to prayer ride or prayer walk:

  1. It opens the way for God to work. Evil is prevalent even in the most charming places. Ever since the Garden, evil has desired to interfere and disrupt all that is good on this earth.
  2. You get to pray for where you live! It’s where God has planted you. Caring for your territory and the geography you occupy is deeply connected to stewardship. Other than voting in the elections and your involvement in your local church, I know of no better way to be a good citizen.
  3. It gives you a sense of ownership for where you live. You are part of the solution for your neighborhood or your town to be protected from evil and to succeed. Our neighborhoods and towns belong to us, God’s people.
  4. Prayer is powerful, and praying for where you live gives you hope. Your spiritual eyes are opened and you care for where God’s placed you. Even if you don’t see an immediate answer, I believe evil is thwarted because of prayer.
  5. Your love for humanity will bloom. We all grow cold and aloof to this dark world and praying in this way softens your heart for all people.

Consider doing this. The next time you have your children or grandchildren in the car, tell them to look around and tell you what they see. Turn their observations into prayers. As you go to work, or run errands, keep your blood pressure down in traffic by praying aloud in your car for those around you.

Prayer is a quiet activity, but never doubt the power of your prayers. You are God’s secret agent in your community. Let prayer be part of your everyday life and watch God work while you pray on-site with insight.

Prayer walking is an intriguing concept. The general idea is that instead of moving blindly from one place to another, you spend your walking looking at what the world is actually doing around you. As you observe more closely, you see things, people and even areas to be prayed for, and pray for them as you walk. Graham Kendrick

 

5 Reasons to Write a Handwritten Letter

There’s nothing like getting a personal letter in the mail. Short of wedding invitations and graduation announcements, letters can be few and far between these days. I’m thankful that during my lifetime, I knew about sending, as well as, receiving letters in the mailbox. There’s something special about an envelope with your name inscribed on it, and guessing who it is from. Soon the letter will be opened, and for a few minutes, you slow down and read the contents inside.IMG_7410

But snail mail in recent times has taken a hit. The convenience of technology has usurped the intentionality and slower pace of pen and paper. But many of you, I’m sure, have received somewhat meaningful mail through the United States Postal Service. To some, this blog may sound old-fashioned; bashing technology, however, is not my intent. Technology is amazing and is a creative wonder that yields blessings unmatched by our imaginations. I am taken with its speed, convenience, and creative options. However, sometimes slowing down with pen and paper offers benefits as well.

With that said, here are 5 reasons why one should handwrite a note or letter…

For the recipient:

1. Getting a personal letter in the mail is an unexpected pleasure, a surprise in the day.

2. Anticipating checking the mail and finding an envelope inscribed with your name on it can be exciting.

3. Looking at the return address to guess who it is from is something that is absent from technology and provides some intrigue to the exchange.

4. Wondering about the contents of the letter gets the mind actively involved in getting the letter opened.

5. Reading actual words written by another human on paper is so unusual that it can be a particular blessing.

For the writer:

1. Intention – Something about pen and paper shows thought went into the message being sent.

2. Personality – Your stationery and pens can complement your communication and how your writing is presented.

3. Connection – What better way to reach out to someone in such a personal way!

4. Exclusivity – A letter is private. It’s between you and one other.

5. Dignity – A letter raises human interaction to a higher level of communication.

So what is one to write?

It is surprising how interesting ordinary life can be to a reader. Share a memory, or write about your garden, pets, a needed home repair, or a Bible study give a sense of connection in a letter. Share a recent day trip,  a craft you’re working on, or a place you’d like to visit. Continue about the weather, your children or grands would provide some rich content. This brings the reader into your world.

We have an aunt that types an occasional letter to us. Generally, she discusses her recent aches and pains, her retirement friends that she meets each month, some family news, and possibly, she may mention a church service recently watched. That sounds mundane, but we enjoy it very much and appreciate it.

Recently, someone we know moved to another state, and it was a delight getting a real letter from her.  Her name was embossed across the top of each page of the stationery. She included news about a particular object she was hanging in her home. She discussed some needed changes in her backyard and a visit to a new grocery store in town. Every word absorbed.

For those who think you are too busy to sit down and write a letter, I totally understand. For me, it’s about carving a few minutes out of a month to write someone you care about who may not be on social media.

There’s something special about going to the mailbox and finding a  personal letter with your name on it. It is an expression of individual thought and care, and it’s likely to make your day when received. I suspect keeping letters is happening more now than ever due to the rare nature of the practice. It’s easy to make someone’s day in a distinctly personal way. Write a letter. Take a few moments and scribble out a few thoughts to one who’s on your mind. Order some stamps online or, better yet, visit your local post office to get a few stamps. Letter writing has always been one of the finer things in life, and someone needs to hear from you today.

“Letter writing is the only device for combining solitude with good company.”
Lord Byron

A Verse and a Word

untitled2020 seems like it could be a year of order and perfection. The numerical pattern of the even numbers just looks clean, perfect, orderly.  The idea of 20/20 vision springs to mind perfect vision. Because we live in this world, we know it will not be a year of order or perfection for planet earth. Thankfully, we who love our Lord know for sure HE is the God of order and perfection. He has the plan not just for our world, but for each follower of Jesus.

For 2020,  it seemed right for me to get a verse and a word to give focus to the coming year and hope for the days to come. After pondering this, I was led to Psalm 121:2, “My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” And Enthusiasm is the word for my year. The definition of enthusiasm mentions intense and eager enjoyment, interest, or approval. The words apathy, coolness, doubt, weariness is the opposite, which I admit at times is my default.

With my verse and word chosen, I understood that whatever is coming this year, the Lord will be my Helper. Additionally, I’m to approach all things to do with His plan with ENTHUSIASM.

I’ve challenged the ladies of Buried Treasures Home to get a verse and a word for the year. Several were enthusiastic about the idea, and some will do it because I asked them to do it. How about you? Are you ready to approach the year 2020 with a verse and a word? 11 days in, I can testify the verse and word come up in my mind often. I’m focused. Leave me a comment here or in the comments on Facebook. What’s your verse and word for 2020?

I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? Psalm 121:1

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God’s Secret Agents

Years ago, I was exposed to prayer walking in a foreign country. Until then, I’d never heard of prayer walking. Certainly mobilizing to go half way around the world to do it didn’t match my idea of a hands on mission task. The team leader assigned a book (Prayer Walking by Stephen Hawthorne and Graham Kendrick), and the team practiced in his neighborhood prior to the trip. The main theme of this book was praying on-site with insight.

We learned to notice wheelchair ramps, children’s toys in yards, multiple cars in driveways, someone on their porch or in their yard, a political sign, a well-manicured yard. These and other things were clues for how to pray on-site with insight.

So, what does one pray when prompted seeing a well-manicured yard? You can thank God they care for their property and ask God to help them to understand there is a Creator. Ask the Father to convict them and to desire His beauty in their soul.

Sometimes walking isn’t possible. Prayer riding is just as effective. The speed of the road doesn’t hinder the ability to see clues around you…the speeding motorcycle, people on the side of the road, the elderly driver, the one texting, police driving by… As you begin to make it a practice, you’ll find there is no end to what the Spirit will let your eyes see, notice, and discern. For example, you may pass a crash. Ask God to bring peace to the situation and to give all involved wisdom. Pray for anyone who doesn’t know the Lord to cry out to Him to be saved.

A few times a year, I try to take the ladies of Buried Treasures Home on a Prayer Ride. Our time is more structured because I’m trying to bring awareness to them of how they can pray for their community in the future. This structure is useful if you’re trying to teach children or adults the importance and give the awareness of praying for their city.

This is what I do for a scheduled prayer ride:

  • I google how to pray for local churches, government offices, police and fire stations, your local shopping center, nursing homes, etc.
  • I make copies of these ideas and pass them out in the van before we leave.
  • We pray before we leave the property for God to help us see with spiritual eyes and to teach us what to pray.
  • I drive to the first destination, park in a place out of the way, but where we can still see it. Different ones individually pray out loud and when we’re finished we drive away to the next destination.

5 reasons to prayer ride or prayer walk:

  1. It opens the way for God to work. Evil is prevalent even in the most charming places. Ever since the Garden, evil has desired to interfere and disrupt all that is good on this earth.
  2. You get to pray for where you live! It’s where God has planted you. Caring for your territory and the geography you occupy is deeply connected to stewardship. Other than voting in the elections and your involvement in your local church, I know of no better way to be a good citizen.
  3. It gives you a sense of ownership for where you live. You are part of the solution for your neighborhood or your town to be protected from evil and to succeed. Our neighborhoods and towns belong to us, God’s people.
  4. Prayer is powerful, and praying for where you live gives you hope. Your spiritual eyes are opened and you care for where God’s placed you. Even if you don’t see an immediate answer, I believe evil is thwarted because of prayer.
  5. Your love for humanity will bloom. We all grow cold and aloof to this dark world and praying in this way softens your heart for all people.

Consider doing this. The next time you have your children or grandchildren in the car, tell them to look around and tell you what they see. Turn their observations into prayers. As you go to work, or run errands, keep your blood pressure down in traffic by praying aloud in your car for those around you.

Prayer is a quiet activity, but never doubt the power of your prayers. You are God’s secret agent in your community. Let prayer be part of your everyday life and watch God work while you pray on-site with insight.

      • Prayer walking is an intriguing concept. The general idea is that instead of moving blindly from one place to another, you spend your walking looking at what the world is actually doing around you. As you observe more closely, you see things, people and even areas to be prayed for, and pray for them as you walk.
        Graham Kendrick

Why the Angels Sing

0e3fe-hark-the-heraldChristmas music abounds with scads of beautiful and touching carols, but none has captured my heart more than “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.” I checked a few lists and this triumphant, happy song makes the top 20 Christmas songs. The theology in the hymn is crystal clear, and my heart rejoices to hear and sing it. The imagery of angels singing is not hard to visualize. The story told within the verses is joyful and masterful.

You may pick out some other Christian themes in it, but these are the ones obvious to me.

  • God sent Jesus into this world to save us.
  • All the nations rejoiced at His coming.
  • The angels proclaimed His birth.
  • Jesus is the highest and all supreme God, born of a virgin.
  • He deserves our devotion and allegiance.
  • The Trinity, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit were all present at His conception and birth.
  • HE IS WITH US.
  • He is the epitome of hope because He brings life to all who accept Him.
  • For those who accept Him, death is just a passage to the best life.
  • He is PEACE, He is RIGHTEOUS, He is LIGHT and LIFE.
  • He put His glory aside to come to earth as a humble babe.
  • Those who know Him, one day will rise to reign with Him. And lastly…
  • All glory, any amount, should be directed, and freely given to Him.

HARK THE HERALD ANGELS SING

Hark! the herald angels sing
Glory to the new-born King
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled
Joyful, all ye nations, rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With angelic host proclaim
Christ is born in Bethlehem
Hark! the herald angels sing
Glory to the new-born King

Christ,the everlasting Lord
Late in time behold him come
Offspring of the Virgin’s womb
Hail the Flesh, the God Head
Hail the incarnate Deity
Pleased as man with man to dwell
Jesus, our Emmanuel!
Hark! the herald angels sing
Glory to the new-born King

Hail the Heaven-born Prince of Peace
Hail the Son of Righteousness
Light and life to all He brings
Risen with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His Glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! the herald angels sing
Glory to the new-born King

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLCHark-the-Herald-Angels-Sing

This carol thrills my soul. Hearing the introductory notes, my heart and spirit get simultaneously glad and the words bring tears to my eyes . True worship to our King Jesus is contained in this song. It’s easy to see, why the angels sing!

Listen here…

Glory to the New Born King!

“Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests’.” Luke 2:13-14